Learn more about amputee football and watch the Oxford City Amps in action
At half-time during the game last Saturday, the 11,000+ crowd was treated to a display of footballing skills by the Oxford City Amps, City's amputee football club. The boys impressed everyone with their skills and their courage and are keen to spread awareness of their team throughout the county.
James Catchpole, who formed the Oxford City Amps, tells us more about the sport:
Amputee football is maybe the most democratic disabled sport there is, as well as one of the most impressive. No expensive prosthetic legs or running blades. No expensive wheelchairs. Just the people's game, the game of the streets, the ghettos and the parks, played on crutches. That's why it's played by over 30 countries around the world, and that's why it takes hold in poor countries as well as rich.
Amputee football is the game of the war zone and the refugee camp. Haiti had an earthquake. Now they've an international amputee football team. Sierra Leone had a civil war. So they play amputee football. (They even came on tour to the UK once, and stayed at St Edwards School in Oxford.) Russia have had an excellent team since the early '90s, started by the soldiers who came back injured from Afghanistan. And Afghanistan has produced quite a few good amputee footballers, as you might imagine. One of them even plays for Great Britain.
In the UK we've an eight-team National Amputee Football League run by the England Amputee Football Association. Oxford City FC was the base for the Southern players when the game got going in the south, five years ago. Now those players have their own clubs with Arsenal, Portsmouth, Peterborough, Brighton & Hove - and back at Oxford City we're starting again with kids and adults from Oxfordshire and the surrounding counties.
If you've lost a leg or you know of anyone who has, we're the people to talk to. Learning to play football on a prosthesis or on sticks (you can do either, in our league) is one of the best ways to rehabilitate. People who lose legs tend to assume their footballing lives are over. But you can still play with your mates and keep up. You can still play with your kids. And if you've the talent and the ambition, you can play for your country too.